All Of This Has Happened Before
It’s long been a thorn in the side of ereader owners, but major publishers–one eye fixed firmly on the fate of the recording industry–have insisted that ebooks come fully loaded with digital rights management technology. But that’s starting to crack. Today Macmillan subsidiary Tom Doherty Associates (home to beloved scifi imprint Tor Books, as well as Forge, Orb and others) announced its entire ebook catalog will be DRM-free by July 2012.
In a statement at the company blog, president and publisher Tom Doherty tipped his hat explicitly to future-enthused fans and authors:
To prepare for
Judgement Day a future that involves communicating with our artificially intelligent friends, psychologists at the University of Washington conducted a study to see what that might look like.
In particular, researchers were concerned with whether people would be willing to hold robots morally accountable for their actions. And why, pray tell, would we need to do that? “We’re moving toward a world where robots will be capable of harming humans,” explains associate professor Peter Kahn. Okay then! Thanks for the heads up?
Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Ben Horowitz sits on Foursquare’s board and serves as a close mentor to engineering lead Harry Heymann. His guest post yesterday over at AllThingsD is a how-to guide for demoting a loyal friend you’ve hired to work at your startup.
Not one, not two, but three of your Betabeat editors actually guffawed aloud upon discovering @PicturelessPins, a weeks-old Twitter account that offers “the best of Pinterest without having to look at the pictures.” Think Garfield Minus Garfield, but for the bangs and fairy dust and decoupage-loving set. The Twitter account serves up textual descriptions of typical Pinterest fare, which somehow manage to be both more interesting and entertaining than the actual pins they’re alluding to. We’ve collected a few of our favorite PicturelessPins tweets after the jump.
IAC/InterActive Corp chairman Barry Diller testified before the Senate Commerce Committee today about the future of online video. We can’t believe someone thought this was a legitimate question in the era of Netflix and Hulu, but the hearing was actually called “The Emergence of Online Video: Is it the Future?” Then we remembered who was asking.
“Incumbents have the means and incentives to engage in economic and/or technical discrimination against online video distributors,” Mr. Diller told lawmakers, referring to our cable and broadband overlords. To level the playing field, he said, “I think you need to rewrite the [Telecommunications] Act of ’96. It’s overdue given the Internet. And it needs revision.” Congress, he added, should “prevent cable and telecommunications companies from leveraging their dominance in existing markets” to control emerging technologies.
When Hackers Attack
TechStars New York has had three classes for a total of 37 startups since it launched in the beginning of 2011. The guys at social media sentiment analysis startup Buellr have arranged a ranking of the top ten of graduates from all but the current class.
Anonymous and its ilk continue to scare the bejesus out of the Internet. Judging from this research report from cyber security firm Bit9, IT pros are braced for all kinds of hacktivist havoc.
The firm surveyed 1,861 IT and security pros, the majority from organizations bigger than 500 employees. 64 percent expect to face cyber attacks in the next six months, and 61 percent point to Anonymous and its hacktivist fellow travelers as the most likely attackers. More generally, a solid two-thirds of respondents believe we’re really seeing an uptick in the rate of attacks, thanks to more hackers, stronger state-sponsored efforts, and so forth. They’re not exactly pulling that out of thin air, either. For one thing, attacks on financial companies tripled year-over-year in the first quarter of 2012.
At the beginning of April, progressive women’s rights group UltraViolet announced a petition that aimed to convince Facebook to add a woman to its currently all male, all white board. Looks like Facebook hasn’t bowed to their demands just yet, so UltraViolet is planning a rally tomorrow outside of Facebook’s NYC office on Madison Ave.
Feminist activist Shelby Knox, she of early aughts documentary fame, tweeted the following: “Tomorrow, feminists are rallying in front of Facebook’s NYC office to ask them to put women on their board. Join us?”
The rally is scheduled for tomorrow, April 25th, at noon, when UltraViolet intends to deliver the signed petition to the Facebook offices.
5 Minute Pitches
With the demise of the lascivious Hunter Moore’s Is Anyone Up?, where the vengeance-minded could publish those nude photos the ex sent back in the halcyon days of the relationship, the sext-happy among us can breathe a little easier. But for those of you who want to send your beloved something naughty without worrying that it will end up haunting you, there’s now NoFWD.com, a simple tool that uses digital rights management technology to protect your private parts.
Unless your company is driven by big-name investors, it can be difficult to get press coverage for your fledgling startup until you’ve raised a significant amount of funding or kicked up some controversy. At least that’s the theory behind 5in5NYC, a new web series from entrepreneurs Eric Skiff and Kunal Shah that spotlights some of New York’s most compelling budding companies.